Gone Girl star Ben Affleck got upset with Bill Maher and Sam Harris and told both men that racism over Islam was not the answer to solving the problems that the two men claim exist with the religion. The Batman star appeared on the Real Time show on Friday. The issue arose when host Maher and neuroscientist/author Sam Harris began denigrating the liberals of the world on their inability to speak up for liberal principles in the Muslim world.
Affleck, who describes himself as a “moderate liberal,” got excited when Harris mentioned Islamophobia and stated that it was not a real thing. At which time the Argo star interrupted to ask if the scientist was the acknowledged codified expert on Islam. Harris then explained that he was well versed in the religion.
The scientist maintained that anytime someone complained or criticised the Islamic doctrine it was turned into a bigoted act against the Muslim people and that was wrong. Maher agreed stating that a religion that preaches killing anyone who leaves it is not a great religion one that should be criticised. Ben then argued that over a billion people were Muslim who did not do anything that the Jihadists and ISIS were doing and only wanted to got down to the “store and get sandwiches.” His point being that only a small amount of Muslims believed the death for leaving issue.
The Real Time host told Affleck that the religion was like the Mafia and will “F**king kill you if you say the wrong thing.” During the “discussion” Affleck said to Maher and Harris that they were being racist and gross and that their claims were that black people shoot one another. Ben’s argument was that Bill Maher and Sam Harris were not correct in their answers that criticism equated to racism over Islam.
Affleck argued that the U.S. has killed more Muslims than “they have killed us,” and that “we are exempt.” The actor and director went on to speak about invading Iran and Iraq. Maher tried to move on and Affleck brought out his “black” argument. At this point the host got frustrated with his Hollywood guest as did Harris.
Nicholas Kristof then made the statement that what Maher and Harris were saying resembled what white racists say about black people. On the Friday segment, Affleck clearly showed just why performers should not get involved in political, or in this case, theological discussions. The apparent issue seemed to be that Ben was not as informed about the Muslim religion as Harris and Maher obviously are.
The argument from the other side of the table was that criticising a religion that preaches death for leaving the faith is wrong and practicing intolerance. Harris broke down the “factions” of the religion and still Affleck did not waver from his “sandwich” argument. It is interesting to see the star moving swiftly from his own label of moderate liberal to a full blown one.
Looking at the video, it really seems that Ben Affleck may have been more offended by the accusations against liberals than the allegations about ISIS, Jihadists and Muslims in general. The trigger that set the actor off was when Bill Maher and Sam Harris brought up the term of Islamophobia. It was after this word was trotted out that the star said racism over Islam was not the answer. Sadly, the clip on YouTube, which is below, ends before this debate reached a result. For those who care, it may be time to see if this episode is on Demand TV to get the entire picture.
By Michael Smith